Rumors regarding how Microsoft is going to make Xbox 720 “always online”  (aka must always be connected to the Internet, may be even to play games) have been flying for a while. Microsoft has yet to officially comment on the rumor but that hasn’t stopped a Microsoft employee from taking to Twitter to help address the issue. By telling everyone to “#dealwithit”.
Yesterday during his “lunch break”, Microsoft Studios Creative Director Adam Orth posted the following tweet:
Sorry. I don’t get the drama around having an “always on” console. Every device now is “always on”. That’s the world we live in. #dealwithit
He followed up with further tweets likening an always-on console to a vacuum cleaner that needs electricity and cellphones that need reception, saying people still buy those even though sometimes electricity goes out and reception can be bad. Then, when confronted by Manveer Heir from BioWare who pointed out recent Diablo III and SimCity launch fiascos (games that must be connected to the Internet to be played) and how Internet can go out sometimes, Orth responded with “electricity goes out, too”. To top it off, Heir pointed out many people still don’t have access to broadband, like people living in Janesville, WI or Blacksburg, VA to which Orth replied: “Why on earth would I live there?”
Orth has since made his tweets private (but not before the Internet screenshotted them), labeled his comments as his “personal opinion” and not Microsoft’s official position, plus remarked how he was trolling regarding Janesville, WI or Blacksburg, VA. Microsoft has also officially distanced itself from Orth’s comments by releasing an official statement…
“We apologize for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday. This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views do not reflect the customer centric approach we take to our products or how we would communicate directly with our loyal consumers. We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter.”
…and Chief of Staff for Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Aaron Greenburg publicly disowning Orth by saying: “Very sorry if you were offended, I don’t actually know who he is”.
To be fair, Orth does have a valid point or two (e.g. we live in an always-on world, at least in developed nations) but overall his viewpoint is flawed and, simply put, arrogant. And even if Orth was not expressing Microsoft’s official position on the issue, if employees at Microsoft — especially someone who is labeled as a director — has this sort of arrogant attitude towards a very important issue that will affect a lot of people… well, then, we might as well buy a Mac. Feel free to flame Orth in the comments  below.